Would you give up your battered old car for an e-bike?
France is one of several European countries that is forging ahead with aggressive strategies to reduce the prevalence of gas-guzzling, polluting vehicles on its roads. As far back as 2017, the country announced a future ban on the sale of all gas and diesel cars. Last year, this was followed by a shocking proposal to charge up to 50,000 euros for a gas guzzler tax for certain sports cars. And now, the country's National Assembly wants to offer owners of older, environmentally unfriendly vehicles 2,500 euros (nearly $3,000) to give up those cars in return for an electric bicycle.
While decreasing the carbon footprint of each citizen is never a bad thing, it's quite ironic that these plans are being put into place in the same country that Bugatti calls home. Vehicles like the Chiron hypercar are not exactly known for their Prius-beating economy figures. Nevertheless, the incentive to get an e-bike isn't a bad move, especially for people living in busy city centers with their narrow lanes. In a preliminary vote, the 2,500-euro incentive was approved as an amendment to a draft climate bill. The aim of this bill is to lower greenhouse emissions by 40 percent in 2030, relative to the emissions levels in 1990.
As per the report by Reuters, France would potentially become the first country on the planet to make it easier to trade in your old car in return for an e-bike. "For the first time it is recognized that the solution is not to make cars greener, but simply to reduce their number," said Olivier Schneider from the French Federation of Bicycle Users (FUB). Considering that even Harley-Davidson has built an electric bicycle, perhaps it's a perfect solution for when your EV is sitting in the garage being charged. Then again, how many people would actually be willing to trade in even an old car for a bicycle? Perhaps an incentive for e-bikes should exist regardless of whether you drive an old car or not.